Dive into our insightful analysis of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream as we explore power dynamics, Shakespeare's orientalistic imagery, and a nuanced interpretation of a specific scene involving Titania and Oberon. Our post, perfect for educators and students alike, brings a fresh perspective on this classic play.
Teaching and Analyzing a Midsummer Night's Dream
Power Plays in the Play
A Closer Look at a Particular Scene (Act.2.S.1)
- Understanding the Conflict Between Oberon and Titania: Discuss the core issue that instigates the dispute between Oberon and Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." How does their disagreement over the "changeling boy" inform their characters and affect the overall plot?
- Traces of Early Colonial Influence in Shakespeare's Work: Examine the textual evidence in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" that could suggest the beginnings of Britain's colonial influence on India and East Asia. How does Shakespeare's portrayal of the Indian boy reflect or contradict the historical context of early British-Indian relations?
- Shakespeare's Orientalism in Depicting India: Analyze how "A Midsummer Night's Dream" may exemplify an "Orientalist" perspective, in which India is depicted as mysterious, exotic, and otherworldly. Consider instances in the text where Shakespeare romanticizes or idealizes India. How might this perspective have influenced perceptions of India during Shakespeare's time, and how does it relate to the broader discourse of Orientalism in literature?
THE FAIRIES' CHANGELING (Herefordshire) A mother was greatly worried over her child, for it never grew but lay in its cradle vear after year. When her elder son, a soldier, returned from the wars, he refused to believe the child was his brother, declaring it was a changeling. To prove this, he blew out some eggs, filled the shells with malt and hops, and brewed them over the fire. "Though I've lived a thousand years," chuckled the changeling, "this is the first time I've seen beer brewed in egg-shells." He then rushed from the house. Shortly afterwards, a fine young man walked in — he was none other than the boy the fairies had been keeping for many years.
Suffice it to say the "changeling" represents the unwanted child, a fairytale metaphor for the step-child, or the boy under the stairs (from Harry Potter). On the one hand, the fairy tale hinges on a childhood fear that "I am not wanted;" or the fear that "My parents are not my real parents." But it also reflects a more disturbing fact, of abuse, and neglect of children.